Building a Podcast Site with Drupal

Pro Drupal Development and Information ArchitectureOver the past couple years I've been asked, more times than I can remember, how to build a podcast site with drupal. Sometimes it's an overarching how to question while other times the questions are really digging down into detail on a specific part of the site. Over the next couple weeks I'm going to post a series of blog posts on this issue. The goals are to walk through as many of the questions as I've been asked, answer new questions that come up, and keep this as specific as I can to churches and ministries.

In this first post, lets start at the beginning. The scenario here is the go ahead has been given to build a podcast site. There is no existing site, there is no architecture, this is the start.


Before you start building a podcasting site or integrating podcasting into an existing site you need to think about the architecture of your site. This is called the information architecture and it's often overlooked. This is a structured way to plan out the details like navigation, sub-navigation, url naming, and where information will be located on a page. This is an important step for any effective website.

Since that topic is a series of posts in itself I'll recommend reading the recent presentation by Civic Actions. Not only does this presentation provide an overview of IA, but there are a number of resources at the end of the presentation.

While architectures can vary drastically there are a number of common hot topics that churches and ministries need to consider.


A lot of podcasts have comments on their episodes. This gives the listeners an opportunity to enter into a conversation about the podcast episode, give some of their thoughts, offer up suggestions, and continue the conversation. Over at Geeks and God we've fond this to be an invaluable way for us to not only get to know our listeners but really be able to help them. Continuing the conversation has brought up some great information and brought out some points of view we have not seen before.

But... churches often times have trouble with comments on their official site. Since so much of the church presentation is controlled, having something uncontrolled, like comments, can be a little unnerving for church leaders. The IA side of the site should include a policy about commenting on the site. Something that says if you post bad stuff we may pull it down. This is more for church leadership than it is for commenters. It shows them that you've thought about bad stuff ending up in the comments.

On the flip side we need to look at the good of comments. How they allow us to get feedback about what's on the mind of some of our listeners. And, how comments allow us to have a channel to continue that conversation to meet the needs of the listeners.


How will the podcast be highlighted on your site. This may seem simple; but, in many of the church sites I've visited the podcast gets played down or isn't easy to find. Since, a churches podcast gives potential members to get a real peak inside your church, having your podcast be prominent can be an important thing. Put it on your front page. Have instructions on how to listen, how to subscribe, and some information about what a podcasts is where it's easy to find. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for someone who wants to listen to actually listen.

Tomorrow, we tackle installing drupal and some key podcasting modules.